Rowan County working with Perkins Cafeteria to make repairs following boiler room break-in

Published 12:02 am Friday, August 20, 2021

SALISBURY — Rowan County and Perkins Cafeteria are working to repair damages to the restaurant’s boiler room following a criminal breaking and entering in June.

Perkins Cafeteria has been preparing for months to open a restaurant in the building at 1925 Jake Alexander Blvd. West, which was the longtime home of K&W Cafeteria before the chain closed the location last year. The building, like the rest of West End Plaza, is owned by Rowan County.

Accessible by a door along the back of the building, the boiler room is separate from the rest of the restaurant and contains a machine dedicated to heating the large quantities of water needed in a restaurant’s kitchen. The offenders appeared to have broken into the room by prying open the door. Once inside, the culprit stole the boiler’s copper piping and other valuable materials.

“They basically went in and took everything they could take,” said Don Bringle, director of Rowan County Facilities Management. “They couldn’t take the boiler because it’s too heavy.”

The damage has left the boiler inoperable. In addition to replacing the copper piping, Bringle said electrical work and other plumbing is needed before it will be operational again. Fixing the boiler, he said, is a benefit to both Perkins and the county.

The county was made aware of the break-in around June 18, but the exact date and time of the crime is unknown. The culprit remains unidentified. It is uncertain whether Perkins filed a report with the Salisbury Police Department regarding the incident.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved an agreement with Perkins and authorized the completion of necessary repairs and replacements to the boiler room.

The county will split the cost of repairs and replacement with Perkins Cafeteria, which will pay its share over six months as additional rent. The company signed a five-year agreement in December with Rowan County, the owner of the building, to lease the space for $2,250 per month. 

Perkins Cafeteria will be the second restaurant venture and the first of its name launched by Perkins Management Services, a Washington D.C.-based contract food services company that provides dining support to corporations and colleges around the country. The eatery was slated to open in July, but has still not begun operations. 

Bringle said he was unsure whether the boiler room break-in has been the primary reason why the restaurant has remained unopened. Perkins Cafeteria could not be reached for comment.

The county is currently accepting bids for the repair and replacement project. Bringle said two quotes have already been submitted and a third is expected to arrive within the next week. Once the county and representatives from Perkins review the bids, a winner will be selected and work will begin.

The goal, Bringle said, is to assist the company in getting the building ready for opening.

“We hope to help them through this process so they can get into this building as soon as possible to be open to the public,” Bringle said.